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SAGE Intrinsic Aging: A Histological Perspective: Skin Module: Product of the Year at the 2010 Reynolds Grantees Meeting (1st Place)

WINNER: Product of the Year at the 2010 Reynolds Grantees Meeting in St Louis, MO

Dermatological changes are among the most visible signs of aging. Evidence of increasing age includes wrinkles, sagging skin as well as whitening or graying of the hair. The absence or near absence of dermatology teaching in medical school curricula makes this month’s Editor’s choice an even more welcome addition to POGOe. 

SAGE Intrinsic Aging: A Histological Perspective: Skin Module by authors Judith Head, PhD and Amit Shah, MD is the first of a series of highly interactive web-based modules from UT Southwestern.  It fills a wide gap in content knowledge and certainly offers content delivery that is fresh and current.

The highly interactive web module - from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center - aims to instruct on normal skin changes with aging and the clinical implications of these aging-related changes via histology. The target learners for this module are pre-clinical first or second year medical students who are learning the histological basis of normal and abnormal dermatological features.

One of the highlights of this module is side by side comparison of young and aged tissues with interactive slides and summary drawings which reinforce the main points on the histology slides. The images are bright, clear and colorful. The placement of the images of young and old skin right next to each other makes a visual comparison simple. The accompanying text contains key terms with explanations when you mouse over them, which also highlights the histological part on the image. These features make the module appealing to learners who may prefer both diagrams and text to assist in their learning. All of the histological images are original and their tissue stain treatments are also marked. The module is also appealing to clinical learners as it is anchored in showing clinically relevant changes and the implications of these changes in older patients, thus extending the audience of the module to clinical learners and trainees.

Limitations include the absence of a self-assessment component within the module to ensure learner content comprehension. Some of the images also do not have identifying labels where they would appear to be needed. The module assumes that a user would be familiar with a menu-based navigation system; an introductory (or a “how to begin”) section that guides the user through a more linear study approach would make the self-study process less confusing, as would a glossary of terms.  A great next step would be adding surface anatomical skin changes to the focus on histological changes.

This POGOe product was voted by leading educators in geriatrics and gerontology as the 1st Place WINNER of Product of the Year at the 2010 Reynolds Grantees Meeting in St. Louis, MO. So try this interactive module now! It is available for FREE right here at POGOe.org.